This part of your book has taken about a year to write. A large part of that is due to my feeling completely and utterly ill-equipped at times to write with any authority on resilience. So this is something you can know that at this point in time, when you were two years old, I was still trying to build this virtue in myself.
It’s a very hard quality to master anyway, but the sooner one starts developing it, the better off they will be at a younger age. Your grandmother and your daddy see me as very strong, but deep down inside, it takes a lot of mental effort, and a lot of faith in God, especially to accept the negatives He allows.
Having a spirit of resilience is crucial for survival, not only in the very difficult trials you may face, but also just to manage the daily grind of little ups and downs that come with life in general.
In fact, I’d argue it’s actually more important to have resilience so that you’re able to deal with everyday life, because that’s what will determine your long-term mental health and prosperity.
I know you, my Little One, will develop and then nourish your resilience using some of the techniques I’ll teach you throughout our years together ❤ . You’re already incredibly strong in spirit, graceful and yet confident, and we can see the woman you’re becoming already!
From Dr. Stephen Marmer, psychiatrist at UCLA Medical School and psychiatrist of 40 years –
- Resilience is one’s ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable disappointments, failures, and pains
- Resilience is the opposite of fragility. Being fragile means almost everything upsets you; you walk around angry and hurt much of the time. This does not make for becoming a happy person.
How do you develop resilience?
- Gain proper perspective
- Compare the undeserved bad things that have happened to you, with the unearned good things that have happened to you. Almost always you’ll find the good far outweighs the bad
- Toughen up – build up a mental toughness by pushing yourself
- Be the architect of your own fate – we may not control what happens, but we can always control how we respond to what happens
- Take an honest inventory of your life, make a real effort to see where you created your own problems. Then focus on your power to change and develop better ways to act/react.
Resilience of Body Mind and Soul –
Health-wise, my secret weapon has been (for the past 9 years) advice from Dr. Frank Lipman (disclaimer: he has since fallen victim to Trump Derangement Syndrome, but still, his past health advice was superior in general).
Here is what he has to say on the topic of resilience from a health perspective:
“The gift of resilience is that it gives you a solid and very seaworthy ship, so that when a storm comes, you don’t drown. When resilience is optimized, you can handle temporary and unexpected changes a little better….
Resilience is a quality you can build through lifestyle choices.
Good health comes from harnessing the power of positive synergy through fairly modest actions and everyday habits. Resetting your sleep rhythms, plus getting out into nature, plus spending time with a friend who listens to you, can reduce a cortisol storm initiated by stress.
This gives your adrenals and thyroid a break, which improves digestive function and alleviates brain fog, restores a regular menstrual cycle of sex drive, helps your body burn calories efficiently, improves self-esteem, and ignites a desire to enroll in a strength-training class… it’s a ripple effect.
Synergy is the reason the small, ordinary things we often take for granted can catalyze extraordinary improvements in health and happiness.
Dr. Frank Lipman How to Be Well
In another chapter, we’ll look at how important optimism is in creating synergy in your life that produces powerful resilience. I was never aware how much an optimistic spirit can effect one’s body, I thought it was only a mindset that influenced our actions, which then influenced our body, but apparently I was wrong! An optimistic spirit helps one to statistically heal better and even faster – this is something I’ve experience myself with each birth. This last time with your younger brother, the nurses kept remarking how little blood I lost in the c-section surgery. Apparently I lost five times less than the average woman does, which I’m sure was probably the reason my recovery was so easy and I was more able to quickly bounce back into the swing of things. I’ve always been an optimistic person, but I had no idea the power that gives you in regard to resilience in your body physically.
I firmly believe we are also expected to develop a deep abiding spiritual form of resilience. In fact, resilience of the soul may actually be the phenomenon people truly mean when referring to this general ability.
In the early years of our marriage when we were especially poor and we seemed to hit new roadblocks at every turn making life harder, I believe we grew together spiritually in a way that caused us both to be like extremely drought resistant plants. It was as if we were able to pass through any kind of fire, famine, or metaphorical pestilence, no matter how hard, demotivating, or discouraging, and come out with an attitude of gratitude. There were so many examples of this that it’d be too long to write them all out, which only serves to prove how crucial resilience in life and marriage really is. Sometimes hits just keep coming, either by outside trials or even our own foolishness, we experienced both for sure. Sometimes it may spiritually feel like you’re on Satan’s hit-list.
Some of the verses that I clung to during those times were:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence indeed is the Lord.
He will be like a tree planted by water;
it sends its roots out toward a stream,
it doesn’t fear when heat comes and its foliage remains green.
It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.”
But you cannot have that promising passage, without the passage that comes right before.
A stark warning to people of God who lose their resilience by falling into hopelessness and ship-wrecking their faith –
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind,
who makes human flesh his strength
and turns his heart from the Lord.
He will be like a juniper in the Arabah;
he cannot see when good comes,
but dwells in the parched places of the wilderness,
in a salt land where no one lives.”
When we place our faith and hope in the hands of another human being, and forgo the power of God, we may not only will fall into hopelessness at some point, we will inevitably incur a cursed existence upon ourselves. I’ve always been a little afraid of that passage, a healthy fear of what could happen and frequently does if you watch the lives of people around you.
Keeping faith, hope, and trust in the Lord, are the things that will bless us in the end. We will be able to survive a long drought or famine, and won’t stop producing fruit.
Even now, whenever we pass through something particularly difficult or even awful, I visually see our struggle almost as climbing an impossible cliff, that keeps going up and up, with no end in sight. In each time this has happened, I realized letting go meant death (giving up spiritually etc.) but at the same time, pressing on held no promise of easy or quick relief. Sometimes we’ve learned that as soon as we felt we had made one success, another section of the cliff opened up and showed we were still nowhere near the top yet!
In fact, it only seemed to have the illusion that the difficulty would last forever if I (we) stayed the course and continued the climb – not motivating in any sense of the word. In other words, pressing on, even when it doesn’t seem like the struggle will ever end, is not a carrot and stick model. You won’t be immediately rewarded for your faithfulness, and for some things I think, we will only ever see any kind of reward when we get to Heaven. A lot of human struggle really does appear to be in vain, if you’re only thinking about this life and no consequences beyond it.
Resilience cannot be reward-motivated, then, if we’re always waiting for some kind of earthly reward, we’ll undoubtedly fall into hopelessness. Our hope cannot be placed on something basic and earthly, it must be placed in something, on Someone, Higher, otherwise we fall into hopelessness. Otherwise you risk ship-wrecking your faith.
Sometimes in those past trials, I would feel myself slipping into a deep and dark hopelessness. The miraculous thing about being in absolute darkness is that it’s the perfect place where blinding, hot light can shine in and appear with even more beauty than you can imagine!
The darkest moments opened up the opportunity to cling to God even more, and to bare our souls to Him with a trust so deep that even death was something we felt ready to accept, if that be His will.
Only faith and obedience in God kept us climbing on, up and up that terrible cliff that has no end in sight, trusting Him. It’s always been a deep trust that lasts even when something would feel impossible, that kept us moving on.
Faith is not a wishy-washy, sugar-coated message about love and tolerance for evil, etc. Having faith that stands firm means having a strength that can only be described through God’s power and our own personal capacities for spiritual/emotional resilience.
But it’s more than just a rock-solid faith, you also need to have a tenderness that comes from feeling immense gratitude and love for the good in your life.
Resilience was a quality and virtue I wrote about in your Proverbs 31 book.
The woman who can learn this trait and virtue will greatly add to her husband’s happiness long-term, as well as her own! ❤